Intel Core i3 and Core i5 661 (Westmere) review

Intel's new budget chip brings 32nm transistors and CPU-GPU fusion tech

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Product features

  • Processor Core : Dual-core (2 Core)

View full specification


  • Fab dual-core performance
  • Keeps Intel's 32nm transistors on track


  • Mediocre GPU performance
  • Doubts about CPU-GPU fusion tech

Tick-tock goes the Intel PC processor clock. "Tick-Tock", of course, is Intel's slightly poncey parlance for a strategy of introducing new chip production technology and CPU architectures on alternate years.

This time around, Intel is treating us to a 'tick'. That means a shrink from 45nm to even tinier 32nm transistors, rather than a radical new CPU architecture.

In other words, Intel's new Core i3 500 series and Core i5 600 series processors, launched today, are derived from the existing Nehalem processor design. They're not all-new chips.

At least, the traditional CPU part of this new 32nm family of processors, known internally at Intel as Westmere, isn't new. What is novel is the shoehorning of graphics rendering hardware into the processor package.

That's right, these Core i3 and Core i5 chips are the first examples of the coming era of CPU-GPU fusion chips from both Intel and its main rival in the PC processor business, AMD.

Intel is also launching a mobile version of this all-in-one processor design for laptops. You can read our full, exclusive review of that very soon.

Tech Specs

Product TypeProcessor
Processor CoreDual-core (2 Core)
Thermal Design Power73 W
Processor ManufacturerIntel
Product FamilyCore i3 i3-500
L3 Cache4 MB
Clock Speed2.93 GHz
Processor SocketSocket H LGA-1156
Brand NameIntel
Green CompliantYes
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityRoHS
64-bit ProcessingYes
Thermal Specification72.6°C
Direct Media Interface2.50 GT/s
L2 Cache512 KB
Product Seriesi3-500
ManufacturerIntel Corporation
Product Modeli3-530
Product NameCore i3 Dual-core i3-530 2.93GHz Desktop Processor
Product LineCore i3
Input Voltage1.4 V DC
Manufacturer Part NumberI3-530
Manufacturer Website Address
Marketing Information

The Intel Core i3 processor family with Intel HD Graphics delivers a revolutionary new architecture for an unparalleled computing experience. As the first level in Intel's new processor family, the Intel Core i3 processor is the perfect entry point for a fast, responsive PC experience. This processor comes equipped with Intel HD Graphics, an advanced video engine that delivers smooth, high-quality HD video playback, and advanced 3D capabilities, providing an ideal graphics solution for everyday computing. A smart choice for home and office, the Intel Core i3 processor also features Intel Hyper-Threading Technology, which enables each core of your processor to work on two tasks at the same time, delivering the performance you need for smart multitasking. Do not let too many open applications slow you and your PC down. Get smart performance now.

Process Technology32 nm